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Nightmare Fuel / Dear Children

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It should be no surprise that a horror comic should have some really dark and scary moments.

Horrors that will haunt your dreams include:

  • The spectral image that nearly causes Cail to crash when she's driving herself and her dad home from school. Whether or not that thing was tangible (there's some reason to think it wasn't) it could have resulted in a serious car wreck, in which among other things Cail or her father might have been hurt or killed. This possibility is obviously in her dad's mind, as he didn't see the image and nevertheless was severely shaken.
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  • The way in which the Shadow Under Hearthbrook enters its victims' dreams. We've seen some of these from the POV of the dreamers (and some of those dreams are Nightmare Fuel all by themselves), and we have read about the particularly-nasty recurring dreams that afflicted Wesley Perkovitch before he turned into the Wesley-Thing. The worst of these are the sort of experiences you'd be assessed Sanity losses for in the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG, and Wesley was definitely suffering some Sanity Slippage there.

Now consider that the Shadow attacks you in your dreams, making its attacks unavoidable, and that in particularly bad cases can slowly drive you mad, inflict physical damage on you, or even pull you into its world through a portal.

But the worst of it? Based on what happened to Wesley and at least one other person, if you Go Mad from the Revelation, you will begin to transform into one of the Shadow Beasts. And there is some reason to believe that some of your original personality and memories will go on, trapped in [[spoiler:your new form and under the control of the Shadow.

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Pleasant dreams.

  • Emma's dream. The implication of the way she was screaming in that dream was that she could feel the pain of the chains fused with her leg (probably drawing on her suppressed memories of her agony recovering from the real plane crash).
  • Josh's dream. Not just the creepiness of being chased and attacked by a Shadow Beast, but the fact that he was physically pulled into the dream through a portal and bore the marks of the attack after waking. Was it a dream? Another spacetime? Who knows?
  • Wesley's dreams. Especially horrific because of the way on which they attacked the sexual discomfort of a shy young virginal boy and started turning him against even his beloved twin sister. And they end in his actual Monstrous Transformation into a Shadow Beast.
  • Everything about the Crooked Saint. An incredibly murderous Serial Killer who terrorized a rather small city for many years, killing women in gruesome ways. Given the size of his body count and the likely population of Hearthbrook in the 1950's, it is likely that he scarred a whole generation (almost everyone would have at least casually known a victim). He was very likely a victim of the Shadow's dream-sendings himself, and it's quite possible that there were multiple "Crooked Saints."
    • What's worse is that there's strong reason to believe that the human who became the Crooked Saint was himself (or herself, or themselves) merely a victim of the Shadow.
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    • Still worse — there's also strong reason to believe that Leroy Whittaker either wasn't the Crooked Saint at all, or at least wasn't the only one.
    • In other words, the Crooked Saint may well be alive and well, and even if he isn't, the Shadow can probably create another one — or a whole squad of them — as required.
  • The confrontation between Cailin and Chelle and the Wesley-Thing. Why was it so terrible?
    • It's the first time in the comic that any viewpoint character runs into any unnatural creature definitely real, tangible in the present-day waking world.
    • They encounter it in an alien tunnel warren, a thousand or more feet from the entrance.
    • There's no one else to help them.
    • No one else even knows where they went. (This is Cailin's fault).
    • Then Cail suffers some sort of psychic contact with the creature, gets a severe nosebleed, and faints (note that this is similar to the earlier stages of Wesley's own Monstrous Transformation.
    • And now Chelle is alone with the thing.
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